Saturday, January 24, 2009
Broadus VIII - The Unfair Mayor
Broadus, with a population of 800 was bay far the largest town in the county, and therefore, the county seat. This meant that Broadus was the location for the county fair, which was a really big doings. They had all of the 4-H barns and display buildings. Our church decided we want to sponsor a Christian literature booth. So I went to the county agent and signed up for the booth and paid the fees. Piece of cake!
On opening day of the fair we set up our literature table, and we were in business. Quite a number of people stopped by to look at the literature and to chat with us. We were able to tell them that we were beginning a new church in the town. We also invited them to the gospel sing in the city park that evening.
Early in the afternoon a gentleman (cowboy) came up to the booth asking who was in charge. I said that I was. He said, "I want you to take your booth down and clear out immediately." I guess he got right to the point. I told him that we would not, and that we had gone through the proper channels to get the booth. He got huffy and raised his voice and insist that we take it down. I said "No." By now a crowd was gathering around to see what was going on. So, he looked around at the crowd, and in even a louder voice ordered me to take the booth down and get out. I said, "No."
Then this cowboy said to me in a voice that he knew everyone could hear, "Do you know who I am?" Being provoked I said, "I don't care who you are, we went through the proper channels and the booth stays." He said, "I'm the mayor of this town." I said, "this is a county building, so the booth stays." And the booth did stay.
Then he said, (and by now I could smell the alcohol on his breath) "I understand you intend to have a gospel sing in the park." I said, "That's rights." He said, "Well, I'm mayor and I'm not going to let you have it." I said, "We have the right to assemble. We'll have it."
And we did have the gospel sing. And it was well attended. I think the mayor and his loud voice helped us out. Even more interest was shown in our church as a result of these events. But these were nervous times.
Our front room (church) did fill up. But Mr. Rogers, our landlord didn't like it. Next time I will tell you about the "turning point."